PUEBLO, Colo. — On May 5, voters in Pueblo decided they were not quite ready to cut ties with Black Hills Energy despite concerns over high energy costs.
Just after 7 p.m. the Pueblo County Clerk & Recorder’s office released the first round of preliminary results. Then released results again May 6 around 3 p.m.
The margin was surprising to Mayor Nick Gradisar.
By voting against municipalization, Pueblo voters chose to continue receiving electric service from Black Hills Energy while maintaining the existing franchise agreement with the City of Pueblo.
“[The voters have] educated themselves again I commend them for making an educated decision on this, it is too costly and too risky, for the government to take over the utility,” said Vance Crocker with Black Hills Energy. “Our commitment to our community is greater than ever. I mentioned the renewable advantage program that we are going to continue to push forward and we are going to offer several years of rate stability, those were two big items. We are going to continue to do that.”
The Bring Power Home campaign is not pleased about the result.
“We’ll continue to have to fight at every turn for our voice to be heard by Black Hills and the Public Utility Commission — for energy justice decisions and decisions about access to renewable energy. But for citizens to stand up for ourselves to better our lives, is really already a success story,” said an outspoken member of Bring Power Home 2020, David Cockrell.
The current Black Hills Energy franchise agreement continues through 2030. However, there is another option to off-ramp from BHE again in 2025.
“I am going to continue to do my best to make sure the people of Pueblo have the energy and the quality of life that they deserve. I wish the outcome was different. We worked hard and the voters have spoken and we will live with their decision,” said Mayor Nick Gradisar, who was for the municipal takeover.
Gradisar said he’s looking forward to working with BHE, for an agreement that’s best for the community.
The city voting to decide on whether or not the city should begin the process of starting its own public utility and taking over for Black Hills Energy (BHE).
This process is called munipalization. FOX21 caught up with both sides last week.